Philco PT-43 Transitone

While visiting Hyannis (Cape Cod) with my then-new wife, I found this cute little 1939 set in the basement of an antique mall. Being new to radio collecting, I was glad for whatever finds I came upon, and it was pretty cheap (about $20 if I recall correctly). The warped and finishless (solid wood) cabinet looked manageable, and the tennite plastic parts were in very good shape. It turned out that the rectifier socket was bad, and all the insulation everywhere was crumbling to dust. Replacing that Loktal socket was cumbersome (the chassis is quite cramped), as was the recapping and wire replacement. The radio plays now, but barely, so there's still some work to do. The cabinet has been straightened, but refinishing has yet to begin.

The circuit is a pretty standard AA5 type, using the then-new Loktal tubes. I've discovered that I don't much care for Loktals, but that was Philco's tube style for the entire 1940s. This little set has them all crammed in pretty tightly together. There's a dial light, but the tennite is opaque, so I don't know why it's there other than to balance the filament string. The "Police Band" setting (see the tiny numbers above the Broadcast Band markings?) is achieved with a slide switch on the back panel, which just re-tunes the loop antenna -- the 1.5 - 2.5 MHz range is the image of the Broadcast Band local oscillator and the 455 kHz IF.

The Transitone name, by the way, was borrowed from Philco's line of car radios, which they sold both as OEM and aftermarket items. In the late '30s Philco marketing started to attach that brand name to some portables and small table sets. The model number, PT-43, reflects the "special" status of these sets, since all other Philco radios of that period used all-numerical model names (like 40-95, or 48-472, to mention two in my collection). Not even the car-radio Transitones had "PT" monikers.

The picture below is of a restored PT-43, borrowed from Ron Ramirez' excellent Philco website, This provides inspiration for the complete resurrection of my PT-43.